The joyous season of festivals continued with gurudwaras around the country celebrating Bandi Chhorh Divas, an important historic event in Sikh religion on Wednesday, November 7, the day of Diwali.
A gorgeous display of lights and fireworks was seen at all the major Sikh temples in Auckland. From New Lynn to Manurewa, North Shore to Takanini, gurudwaras were packed with devotees from all around Auckland.
New Zealand’s biggest Sikh temple in Takanini saw close to 20,000 people attending the festivities this year. At one time the prayer room saw about 600-700 people sitting and some waiting in the queue waiting for their turn to offer their prayers to Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
A huge crowd of devotees waited in the grounds of the gurudwara to watch the spectacular firework display, one of the finest in Auckland.
From the political front, leader of National Party Simon Bridges and National’s List MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi also joined the member of the community in the celebrations of the biggest event in the Indian calendar.
National Party Leader Simon Bridges (centre) and List MP Kanwaljit Bakshi (right) joined Sikh community at the Takanini gururdwara for Diwali and Bandi Chhorh Divas. (Photo: Facebook)
Historically, Sikhs celebrated Diwali along with Hindus after Guru Amar Das listed it along with Vaisakhi as a festival for Sikhs. But later became more popular and known as Bandi Chhorh Divas in the 20th century following several religious adopting this name.
According to Sikh history, the sixth guru of Sikhs Guru Hargobind was released from prison on this day. Mughal Emperor Jahangir also released 52 Hindu Kings along with him. Hence the name ‘Bandi Chhorh Divas’ (meaning the day of releasing from prison).
The festival is celebrated like Diwali by decorating houses, lighting lamps, fireworks organising feasts for family and friends. This is considered an important festival Sikhs’ calendar along with Vaisakhi, Gurpurab, Hola Mohalla and Maghi.